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Chicago charter school teachers on strike for first time in US history

CHICAGO, Ill.—Charter school teachers in Chicago went on strike Tuesday, marking the first time charter school teachers have been on strike in United States history.

Fifteen Acero charter schools are closed because approximately 500 staff members are on strike.

The strike affects 7,500 students.

Class sizes that are too large, a need for special education staff, and better compensation are amongst the reasons teachers are on strike.

Compared to Chicago Public Schools teachers, Acero teachers feel they are being unfairly compensated.

“Our staff works 20 percent longer over the school year than CPS staff, but we get paid an average of 15 percent less. We’re asking for equal pay for equal work,” said Martha Baumgarten, an Acero teacher.

Teachers say the strike is as much about the students as it is about them.

They are also calling for schools to institute a “sanctuary policy” that prevents information from being shared with immigration officials.

The charter network serves a majority Latino student population.

“We’re going to stay on strike until we get educational justice for the people who work in Acero charter schools,” said Jesse Sharkey, Chicago Teachers Union President to ABC7 Chicago.

In a statement, Acero schools called the strike part of an “anti-charter political agenda” led by the Chicago Teachers Union.

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